Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hearing His Voice: Sunday, September 7, 2008

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

The Responsorial Psalm from today’s liturgy may easily be passed over. For a few moments I want to share my own reflection on with this simple sentence. My hope is that the way in which the Holy Spirit touched my mind and heart might be an avenue for each of you to realize that God is present in almost everything we do each day ... if we truly want to have our own God-present experience at least once each day.
A Jesuit priest-friend described how a recently ordained Jesuit priest shared with him what we would call a spiritual moment at an organ recital. The performance was a genuine experience of God’s love touching his heart and soul through the marvelous architecture, art work and the majesty of the music in the local cathedral. During those couple of hours the young priest heard the Lord’s voice. His heart and soul were open and the Lord came to him.
Last Sunday evening, alone but with several hundred people, I sat on the Capitol lawn listening to the National Symphony Orchestra concert. In the majesty of the Capitol building painted in the brilliant and then settling colors of a sun promising its return the next day, I felt God was there for me. "If today you hear his voice ..." There are times when I come into this church very early in the morning or very late at night. Alone in the silence, God speaks to me. I know he is here. "If today you hear his voice ..." When living in Florida, completing my doctoral studies, almost daily I went to a nearby part of the ocean’s shoreline where the dunes were fifteen to twenty feet tall. I planted myself deep within the dunes’ walls where I could see only sand and sea. And God was there for me. "If today you hear his voice ..." Recently several friends gathered to say farewell to a wonderful lady who was about to move from the city to Maine. We were sad but the joy our friend possessed made all of us realize God was there with us. I suspect the waitress would have thought us tipsy had we told her we knew that God was there with us. Several years ago, I invited two elderly gentlemen who did not know each other to join me on my vacation. One of them, who died just three months later, told me how he came to know God was with us during those days. "If today you hear his voice ..." Just a few weeks ago, I was with a Gonzaga classmate and his sister, standing around their 101-year-old mother who was about to die. God was surely there. "If today you hear his voice ..."
I share these moments of my life with you because each evening as my day draws to an end, I try to realize how blessed each of us can be if we live the second part of the responsorial psalm: "... harden not your hearts." Many of our human experiences are rewarding moments of joy and happiness. These human moments are divine signals to us that God can get into our hearts and minds bringing much peace ... if we harden not our hearts!
Our challenge is to train our inner selves to see in the moments of our day that God is present. A mind trained to look for God’s presence in all that happens each day will offer us countless moments, days and years of joy ... because we come to know that we are blessed by God and his presence in our lives. If we can bring such awareness to our hearts and minds each day, St. Paul’s words to the Romans in the second reading today — "Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another ...." — will be fulfilled time and time again and loving one another will never be a challenge. So,
"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."